7 Quotes from the Book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”

April 9, 2018

The book Women who Run with the Wolves has some profound things to say about the primordial feminine instinct that many have forgotten. It is a fabulous text that invites us to reinterpret the experience of women through folk tales, art, and nature. To get in touch with the transforming “wolf” that’s encouraging us to grow and be free.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian analyst, doctor in ethno-clinical psychology, and author of this book. It took her over 20 years to make it reality. Open the pages and you are immersed in a vast, dense, fascinating world of oral story tradition and inspiring psychology. The book has an educational and personal growth bent.

Women who Run with the Wolves is for people who want to understand each other, work on their identity and self-worth, and heal emotional wounds. Wounds we sometimes inherit from our ancestors or patriarchal institutions themselves.

This book is a road map to find all the “traps”that keep us from finding the way back home to our true selves and our instincts. It moves us towards that wild woman, perceptive with a playful spirit and wonderful capacity for affection…

Women who run with the wolves.

Quotes from Women who Run with the Wolves

The quotes from Women who Run with the Wolves we want to introduce you to cover a wide range of topics. The first: despite our apparent sophistication, we are still natural, wild creatures that yearn to recover our ancestral freedom and vitality. To find our place in the world.

The second aspect that we cannot ignore is that, according to Clarissa Pinkola Estes, within each woman there is a powerful force of good instincts, creativity, passion, and timeless knowledge. Society has made us forget it in an attempt to “tame” us. The idea really makes you think, doesn’t it?

Let’s now take a look at seven excerpts to reflect on…

1. Be yourself

To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.”

This quote is about personal growth and self-realization. The courage to be oneself in any situation, regardless of who we are. This is what will keep our identity safe and let us return to our true selves, that wild woman who flees from domestication, traps, and anything that might fence her in.

2. Be strong

To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own luminosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live.”

This is one of the most priceless ideas in Women who Run with the Wolves. Think about how today some still define women as “the weaker sex.” Weakness and fragility have always been associated with the female sex.

Our culture, still terribly immature, does not understand the true meaning of strength. Strong is not the one who can lift the most weight or run the fastest. Strong is the one who runs into life head first, does not surrender, and lives with joy and courage. 

A woman and a wolf howling together at night.

3. Getting away allows us to discover ourselves

“While exile is not a thing to desire for the fun of it, there is an unexpected gain from it; the gifts of exile are many. It takes out weakness by the pounding. It removes whininess, enables acute insight, heightens intuition, grants the power of keen observation and perspective that the ‘insider’ can never achieve.”

Exile is also understood as the act of leaving behind the known and leaping into the unknown — loneliness, uncertainty, strangeness. It empowers new capacities within us and teaches us skills and qualities like introspection, security, observation, and openness.

4. What happens when you don’t love yourself

“Our secret hunger for being loved is not beautiful. Our disuse and misuse of love is not beautiful. Our lack of loyalty and devotion is unloving, our state of separation from the soul is ugly, based on psychological warts, inadequacies, and childhood fancies.” 

The author compares female behavior to the behavior of wolves. She says that the woman of today has been separated from her wild self. She is no longer connected to her instinctive essence and doesn’t recognize her own strength, freedom, and value.

Not loving ourselves has devastating consequences. The act of living, facing the outside world and trying to fit into its idea of the ideal woman, cookie-cutter and submissive, makes us unhappy. We must, therefore, connect to nature like our predecessors did in order to rediscover our value.

5. Authentic love

“Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back.”

Love is the only force that can never be extinguished forever. It is a transforming entity that spreads, makes us grow, and dies only to be reborn again. Something that may take away our life and then return it to us. Where passion gives way to intimacy and mature commitment. Where, sometimes, after a break, love comes back renewed and more intense.

6. Hit rock bottom

“The best land to plant and grow something new again is rock bottom. In that sense, hitting rock bottom, although extremely painful, is also the ground to sow new life on.”

People have an atrocious fear of hitting rock bottom. Could there be anything worse? Nobody wants to lose everything, including hope. But what else do we have to lose when we’ve already lost everything? That’s exactly when something new emerges in your life. Something magical even. We shed our skins, our masks and dead weights, and we get back up stronger than ever.

A wolf and a girl roaring at each other.

7. Authentic growth

“If we live as we breathe, taking and releasing, we cannot make mistakes.”

It’s the cycle of life: take, learn, let go, accept, move forward. It’s natural and we should accept it and integrate it into our daily lives.

To conclude, these quotes from Women who Run with the Wolves are just a tiny sample of the deep well of ancestral knowledge that it offers us. It teaches us new and very valuable things to grow and get in touch with the wild women we are.

“The old one, the One Who Knows, is within us. She thrives in the deepest soul-psyche of women, the ancient and vital wild Self. Her home is that place in time where the spirit of women and the spirit of wolf meet- the place where the mind and instincts mingle, where a woman’s deep life funds her mundane life. It is the point where the I and the Thou kiss, the place where, in all spirit, women run with the wolves.”

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes-